Dusty sees Phillips busting loose

Dusty sees Phillips busting loose

CINCINNATI -- Getting Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips into a groove isn't happening overnight, but manager Dusty Baker is convinced it will happen.

"Water seeks its own level all the time," Baker said. "My theory is he didn't take two days to get in this funk. It usually takes twice as long to get out of it. If he can get some hits, some bunts maybe -- hits cure everything. I tell guys two hits a day for a week will cure almost any ills you've got, especially before you get a bunch of at-bats on you."

Phillips has been showing some signs he's close to emerging. He's been hitting better to the opposite field, including a two-out double to right field on Tuesday. He also led off the ninth with a homer to left field in an 8-3 loss to the Astros.

In 20 games, Phillips is batting .191 with two homers and seven RBIs. Baker doesn't believe he's the only one poised to snap out of it. In recent days, both Jay Bruce and Ramon Hernandez have moved their averages from below .200 to more respectable levels. Alex Gonzalez is hitting just .167, but that's about 100 points higher than where he was last week.

"I always say make your move to respectability before you get to 200 at-bats, because then it gets tougher to move," Baker said. "You can move real quick at this time of year. Great things are coming for some of our guys."

Pitching matchup
CIN: RHP Edinson Volquez (2-2, 6.20 ERA)
Volquez allowed just one hit, Jeff Francoeur's solo homer, through 4 2/3 innings, but he couldn't get past the fifth inning Friday in a 4-3 loss to Atlanta. Volquez was undone by seven walks, including five in the fateful fifth inning. Two of his walks came with the bases loaded. Volquez's wildness nearly resulted in a brawl when he hit Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar in the back in the third inning. Both benches emptied, but no punches were thrown. Volquez says he feels fine physically, but at times he doesn't know where the ball is headed. He plans to do additional bullpen work on the side to determine the problem.

HOU: RHP Felipe Paulino (0-1, 3.00 ERA)
Paulino yielded four runs on 10 hits over six innings in his previous outing against the Brewers, striking out four. He has made one career appearance against the Reds, allowing five earned runs over three frames.

Reds notes
Laynce Nix's eighth-inning homer vs. Houston as a pinch-hitter on Tuesday was his first long ball since Sept. 1, 2006, vs. the Marlins, when he was with the Brewers. ... The first Reds roster move came on the 23rd day of the season, with Edwin Encarnacion being placed on the disabled list with a small chip fracture in his left wrist. Adam Rosales was recalled from Triple-A Louisville. It was the longest the Reds had gone without a move to begin a season since they went the first 37 days in 1985.

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Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Reds (Bronson Arroyo, 3-1, 6.48) at Pirates (Zach Duke, 3-1, 2.43), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Reds (Micah Owings, 1-2, 3.78) at Pirates (Ross Ohlendorf, 2-2, 3.24), 7:05 p.m. ET

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.